MANILA, Aug. 6— The fireworks already sparked in Ang Liga.
And that was just Day 1.
The rivalry of UST and Ateneo simmered further on Saturday as a bench-clearing incident marred their early Division 1 finals rematch at the La Salle Science and Technology Complex Stadium in Binan.
The brawl began when Growling Tiger Zaldy Abraham gave a hard foul on Blue Booter Rupert Bana during stoppage time that Bana’s teammates did not like. Tempers further flared when the rest of the Tigers came in, resulting to the melee.
As cooler heads prevailed, UST’s Abraham and interim coach Arman Esteban and Ateneo-A’s Inigo Herrera were sent off.
The match ended with the Blue Booters taking a 1-0 win with Xavier Alcuaz scoring the lone goal in the 34th minute.
The Tigers actually had a chance to at least force a draw when Gino Clarino lined up for a penalty in the 90th minute, but substitute keeper Enrique Ortiz correctly predicted Clarino’s spot kick and saved the ball from going in.
Meanwhile, Don Bosco pulled the upset ax by beating Ateneo-B, 3-2, in the first game of Division 2.
Jose Morada scored the game-winning goal that capped a brace as the Greywolves upended the Blue Booters’ second team in the preseason football tournament’s early shocker.